More and more of my childbirth education students have been asking about delayed cord clamping. Over the last year or so there have been a few articles and studies suggesting it’s better for the baby to let the blood pulse from the placenta for at least a couple minutes after birth, rather than cut the cord instantly as is common practice.
I thought the following video was a nice, simple explanation of why it can be beneficial to let the placental blood flow a little longer.
The basic idea is that the baby is being deprived a significant last blast of iron and oxygen-rich blood. As far as I can tell from reading the literature on the subject the one downside to delaying the cord clamping for more than a couple of minutes is that there’s a slight increase in newborn jaundice— which can be treated by photo-therapy–but likely at such a low level as to not be considered an issue.
Here’s the lowdown from educator, author and childbirth guru Penny Simkin:
“Delaying clamping of the umbilical cord in full-term neonates for a minimum of 2 minutes following birth is beneficial to the newborn, extending into infancy. Although there was an increase in polycythemia among infants in whom cord clamping was delayed, this condition appeared to be benign.”
If you’re interested in delayed the cord clamping, talk to your care-provider in advance. It may become more common for care providers to postpone clamping, but for now, this would be an exception to standard practice and something you’d likely need to bring up yourself.
(PS, I’m digging Penny Simkin as the Julia Child of childbirth ed videos with the reading glasses, the work table and the decanting of blood through a little kitchen funnel. It’s totally working for me.)